At step off time, our column of M151s, M880 pick up trucks and an M35 deuce and a half rumbled out of the base. We dropped people off to open the gates leading to the AO who were then picked up by the trail vehicle in the column. The rest of the column stopped at grid 708, 509 while our squad pushed down into the ravine to the south and parked our mutts in some thick trees. We then patrolled southeast to 7045 5091 on foot, clearing the way for the rest of the company. We set security while everyone else drove up and dismounted.
At this time we met up with US second squad and the West German section, got on line and started sweeping south through the airfield. This was to be a quick action, as the Canadian section was overwatching the area and had not reported any contact. We were to move through their position, right up to the northern edge of the town of Cotbus and wait until 2300. However, this took much longer as anticipated as our allied squad was determined to search and clear every hidey hole in the airport.
Once we reached Cotbus, we waited for the West Germans to begin their assault of the town which would be our signal to skirt around it and meet up with US second squad on the south end. After a quick meeting, we got them on their way into the town and took off on a quick movement hoping to catch up with US second squad before they gave up on our link up.
However, when we arrived the link up point was vacant.
We waited for a moment, and because speed was of the essence decided to contact US second squad. We advised them we were at the link up, and they replied that they were en route. We advised them that we were going to go ahead and move to the objective, and did so. The bridge was at 6962 5087, so if we came under contact en route they would still be close behind. We cleared both ends of the
bridge, set security and sent the all clear to the headquarters element. They and US second squad arrived and we moved back to our prearranged security position on the west end of the bridge with US second squad securing the east side and the headquarters element attacking the ambulance dead center on the bridge.
As planned in our OPORD, when the company commander arrived on the objective I briefed him with the wind direction and speed. He replied by handing me a CS grenade and telling me to deploy it just after our squad had pulled off the objective.
After several tries, the little ambulance turned over and eventually started. The headquarters element jumped in their Mutts and pulled out of the objective, followed by US second squad on foot acting as an immediate rear guard. We remained in place until a signal was given, advising us that they and the West Germans were clear of and moving north from Cotbus.
At this time I moved our squad off the objective, headed north as fast as we could beet feet. We found a Mutt wheel and picked it up, hoping it would be useful. As the last member of our squad off the objective I deployed the CS gas and ran like hell. Turning back, all we could see what a cloud of white smoke where the objective used to be. No one would be following us without gas masks!
We hoofed it north as fast as we could, knowing that it was only a matter of time before WARPAC figured out where we were and came poking around. We moved back through the airfield to the vehicle drop off point drove back to base.
Thanks to Arbee for the use of his photos!